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Through Maryland to Washington DC

August 29th, 2010 Posted in The Mother of all Trips

Let’s pay our tribute to statistics…

Delaware – First State

Maryland – Old Line State

17 now!!!

If you leave Pennsylvania in order to get to Washington DC, you can either take the diretissima of an Interstate Highway, or you can stroll through the beautiful state of Maryland (and some of Delaware) on some of the scenic routes. We chose the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway (see www.byways.org).

If you take a look at the pictures, you will find it hard to believe that Maryland has the highest median household income of any state, with a median income of $70,545. Maryland is a major center for life sciences research and development. With more than 350 biotechnology companies located there, Maryland is the third-largest nexus in this field in the United States.

But also Maryland is a state of great scenic beauty, huge parts of it are agriculturally used and the Chesapeake Bay kind of splits the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution in two halfs.

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Probably this is a good time to recall, why and when this all started. In March of 2007 Augustin was asked, if he would like to work for his employer in the Newington – Rocky Hill locations for 2 to 3 years. Some of you will remember that we said, we couldn’t find a reason, not to do it. And this is how it all started.

The three years in Connecticut were wonderful and awful, exciting and boring, stressful and relaxed, sunny and snowstormy, hot and cold, dry and humid, welcoming and snobby, heartwarming and appalling, familiar and strange. And I wouldn’t want to miss a single day!

At a quite early date of these three years we thought of completing this part of our lives with a trip across the US. We just didn’t want to stop with the move and immediately start the next steps in Munich. The fact that Augustin didn’t have as many vacation days per year as he had in Germany limited our travelling time during those years. And we rather used those few days for lying in the sun and adopting donkeys on Aruba or for short trips to New York City, Maine or Chicago (I love Chicago!!!).

Being out in the South-West last year proved that there is a whole continent of exciting, unearthly beautiful places to see. And we were already here! No 8hour flight to come here in the first place. So again, there was no reason, not to do it.

We are delighted that everything worked out the way we planned it. I know that many of you would love to do the same thing and probably can’t for whatever reason. All I can do for you is to invite you to share our travel experience across this breathtaking continent. Maybe it will even serve as an inspiration for some of you to do it one day?

In case, and that case will happen, I get a little cynical from time to time about American habits…  Well, first of all, an author is supposed to judge, to utter his personal feelings. And second of all, I promise to always bear in mind what this country means to me. These were some of the best years of my life!

Now back to business, you sissies!

Add DC to our list, so the District of Columbia is #18!!! (DC is also called „The District“)

Everybody knows the most important buildings and sights of Washington DC. The Capitol, the White House and the Washington Monument first come to mind, if one thinks of the US capitol. I therefore was quite surprised about the cute three story buildings we passed when we entered the city.

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It was already late when we arrived at our gorgeous hotel, so we decided to have some dinner and then call it a day.

The next day found us rested and ready for our favorite way to explore the basic sights of a city: on a double decker bus… Oh, on the way to the bus I found out that Prada obviously opened a new business branch…

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13feet above the ground brought us pretty close to branches from time to time.

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Our start of the tour (depends on where you hop on the bus) first hit Georgetown, an old and colorful part of the city. Cute little shops, cafes and restaurants, interesting people, artsy and multicultural.

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Further up the hill the neighborhood becomes more upper class.

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The top of the hill awaits visitors with the Cathedral, not the prettiest I ever saw, but certainly one of the biggest. I reckon, it is neo-neo-neo-gothicalisticallyish, but I am definitely no expert 😉

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Did I mention how high up we were?

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On our way down we passed a couple of embassies. By the way, Winston Churchill has one foot on British ground and one in DC.

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This is where Vice President Biden and Mrs Biden live. I can assure you, there is a house behind the trees, they don’t have to camp outdoors.

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Back down we went to Georgetown, where we tried to get some late breakfast/early lunch.

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The 24hour breakfast place was closed… But we found a solution, even though we increased our carbon footprint to an undesirable extent.

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After we got back up on the bus, the tour proceeded to Arlington National Cemetary. This is the one with all those thousands of white crosses for veterans and military casualties from each of the nation’s wars ranging from the American Civil War through to the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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To reach it one has to cross the Potomac and enter Virginia. On the pillars of the Memorial Bridge four statues represent four virtues. The statues were a present from Italy. I can understand that, I would have been happy too to get rid of those four ugly pieces…

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Back on the DC side of the bridge the hard core sight seeing started. There are some things you have to see in person to get an idea about their meaning. So we certainly left the bus at the National Mall to climb the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial.

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No wonder, his footsteps were too big for some of his successors to walk in…

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Probably one of the most touching sights is the Vietnam War Memorial. Listing thousands and thousands of names of fallen soldiers makes this war even more real and brings to mind how needless the death of so many people, Vietnamese and American, was. If only the lesson would have been learned.

Huge parks stretch along the left and the right of the National Mall.

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The water in the Reflecting Pool was not inviting to jump in and swim into Forrest Gump’s arms. But it was clear in an instant, who the boss of this pond is…

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Passing the National World War II Memorial we hiked up the hill to this incredibly huge pile of marble, the Washington Monument.

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Not pretty, but big.

If you can wait a little longer, don’t use the public restrooms.

The next object In the line of sight is the Capitol.

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It was too hot to walk all the way there, so we looked for the next bus stop and passed the probably busiest office in whole DC, thinking of the egg scandal.

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The bus carried us along the Smithsonian Institution

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to the National Museum of the American Indian

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made a short photo stop in front of the Capitol

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passed the National Gallery of Art (the promise to see Jackson Pollocks here was NOT KEPT!!!)

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had to stop for the fire engine

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and arrived at the hugest train station I ever saw.

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Budget cuts?

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Dinner in China Town. Oh, if you are female and have about the same passion for handbags like me, don’t miss LouLou’s!

The next day was dedicated to historical and art education. All museums in Washington DC are for free. The exhibitions are masterly arranged and visitor friendly.

Our first stop was at the National Space and Air Museum, a department of the Smithsonian Institution.

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This was about the time when I was bored beyond belief.

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Coffee in the park.

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Then I was ready for the Jackson Pollocks…

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This was the exact moment, when Augustin was bored beyond belief.

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Great Musseum, great depressive Munch exhibition, wonderful Rothko, but NO POLLOCKS!!!

Our feet didn’t hurt enough yet, so we went to the Museum of the American Indian.

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Washington DC is an extremely interesting place, everybody should visit at least once. I found it a little sterile, but the people are nice, the museums are breathtaking, the sights are at least huge (I just noticed that I don’t have a picture of the White House…, but you should be able to google it), and two days are definitely not enough time to see and sense everything that makes this city the capitol of the United States. What I liked was the fact that there was no nationalistic razzmatazz going on like in Philadelphia. Facts and dates are simply stated without judgment and everybody can feel free to let their brains work out the rest.

We had to end our visit to Washington DC here, because we still had to go to Front Royal that day. But this is a different story.

Good night for now!

Lancaster County and Philadelphia

August 27th, 2010 Posted in The Mother of all Trips

We have to add the following states to our count:

New Jersey – Garden State

Pennsylvania – Keystone State

So we are up to 15 now.

Because heavy rains approached New York City, we changed our plans and started a day earlier in the direction of Philadelphia.

After leaving the island of Manhattan we quickly reached New Jersey, the Garden State. It didn’t look like a garden at all, but somewhere around here our container and my little Gizmo were/are waiting for their ships…

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Schau, Florence, sogar hier kennen sie Dich!

We made use of the time we didn’t spend in NYC by visiting Lancaster County, a stronghold of the Amish People. This certainly means that it is mostly farm land. We saw green fields (mostly corn), well maintained farms, very neat and German looking…

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We tried to get dinner, but as always when we are in a rather orthodox religious area, it was Sunday, and even the Stoltzfuses wouldn’t open for us on Sunday…

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Hungry like bears we proceeded to Intercourse, which is named after a crossing of important roads, not after what YOU might think. The only shop that was open would only sell us canned veggies. Well, no luck here either.

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So we decided that we could just as well drive on to Philadelphia.

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Gap Diner was closed, too, but maybe they would have opened for Gudrun?

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For those who never stayed in an American motel: this is an average room.

Philly welcomed us with great weather and a beautiful, light blue bridge, named after Benjamin Franklin.

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And what would you eat in Philly? Especially when you are REALLY hungry? Right! A Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. This is basically a white bread role, which could well serve as dish washing sponge. This white sponge is filled with thinly sliced steak and a hot, cheesy sauce. Some take it with onions, which adds at least some taste, some like peppers, but this is absolutely depending on ones personal taste. Yeah, talking about taste… Almost everything tastes well when you’re hungry…

There are two places competing for the best Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich “in the world”. And it comes in handy, that Pat’s and Gino’s are just across the street. We certainly made the test.

Pat’s Steaks:

Well lit

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Clearly understandable instructions

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Friendly chefs

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Excellent fries and clean tables

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And definitely an impressive list of VIP customers…

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Gino’s Steaks

Also well lit

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Friendly chefs too, but what is it with the attitude? Do they have a problem with non-English-speaking people? A sign at the order window read “If you can read, thank your teacher. If you can read English, thank a Marine”. I do not like that, I must say! What if I not able speaking English properly? They no feed me? Or they shoot me? Or grill me? Or grill me first and teach me English later?

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However, we continued our “meal” and besides all political reservation we tried to stay neutral.

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But we agreed immediately. Did Pat’s sandwich taste like a whole lot of nothingness, Gino’s  sandwich tasted like even more nothingness. Both managed to burn my mouth with the sizzling hot cheese sauce. But this was rather sensed as grace than as a hurtful loss. Pat is the winner, clearly.

However, located exactly between the two “restaurants” is a bar, we definitely can recommend, the Gin and Tonic is excellent and helps digesting the cheese-steak-sponge…

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The next day was designated to the Declaration of Independence and its most important sites. Philadelphia greeted us with wonderful sunshine and blue sky. We headed directly for the Independence Park and stood in line for a free tour of the Independence Hall.

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We were led into a room by a tour guide who gave us instructions including everything but the command to breath in and out regularly. If this guy will ever change his career, his choice should be Drill Seargent for the Marines…

Our tour included three rooms and a stairway. The rooms are up to 80% original, or so our Drill Seargent told us. We were not told what happened to the other 20%.

In these rooms the basis for an independent Union of American States was drafted. There was a lot of fighting and arguing, and the 13 states involved were anything else but ready to agree on a common wording. Only when Thomas Jefferson was assigned to take over the hard job, he succeeded to find the words, everybody would agree to. It wasn’t on the 4th of July, by the way, it was a little later…

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The next stop would have been the Freedom Bell, which is housed in this building.

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The wait would have been quite long, another security check would have been necessary, and to be honest, we were a little overdosed on national pride. We are just not used to it… So we skipped the bell and walked down to Penn’s Landing through the beautiful old city of Pennsylvania. 

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Surprise, surprise, we were hungry again…

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Where is our Sushi?!?

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Here it is!

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Oh, by the way, Benjamin Franklin had more than one job. He was not only one of the founding fathers of the USA and a gifted inventor, printer and political theorist, he was also the first American Postmaster General, a real homo universalis, as we miss them in today’s politics.

All in all I must say, Philadelphia is definitely worth visiting. But even if the meaning of this city and its importance in the revolutionary process are understandable and appropriate. It reminded me of a basic problem I have with the way, how within this whole bubble of national pride some people seem to forget to look outside their own country. It just doesn’t completely open up to me, why everything connected with this topic has to be so blown up, huge, shiny and constantly present. I certainly understand, why the Declaration of Independence was and is so crucial for the USA. But I also can’t help the feeling that many US citizens can’t even imagine that there are other countries in this world, who fought for their independence and reached a decent democratic status without having to stress that point at any given time. Well, I guess my own history and those of my two mother countries tought me that overboarding national pride can also lead into desaster. And my understanding of history is based on European history, which holds a huge number of examples to prove me right. I think I just have to learn to live with it.

New York City – my personal Favorite…

August 26th, 2010 Posted in The Mother of all Trips

Being 1/4 German means that I like things to be in order. So let’s start with a count.

States in the US visited so far (and their nicknames used on the license plates):

Connecticut – Constitution State 

Massachusetts – Bay State

Maine – Vacationland

New Hampshire – Granite State (the license plate show „live free or die“ though…)

Rhode Island – Ocean State

New York – Empire State

Louisiana – I prefer „Pelican State“, although the license plates show „Sportsman’s Paradise“

Illinois – Land of Lincoln

Florida – Sunshine State

Utah – Beehive State

California – Golden State

Arizona – Grand Canyon State

Nevada – Silver State

(See a complete list of the States nicknames at: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Spitznamen_der_Bundesstaaten_der_Vereinigten_Staaten in German and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_nicknames in English)

13 aren’t bad for three years, ey?

Now the count will be continued on our roadtrip from coast to coast.

After visiting the MTU boat crew at the dragonboat race down in Hartford, we took off to spend our first night of the  vacation in New York City.

On our way there we passed a mammoth tree, which is actually an antenna mast.

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I often complain about how the Americans manage to mutilate their landscape with huge malls, Dunkin Donuts, etc. But this is a bright idea to turn something inevitable into something, well, pretty.

We entered Manhattan over the Triboro Bridge with quite a view this time.

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We even had a room with a view!

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Because this was not our first visit to NYC, the following pictures won’t show the tourist hot spots, but rather images of things and buildings, I love, no matter how important they are for the city’s image. So don’t be disappointed. Rather take this as an invitation to see the rest yourself one day.

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Staying in a hotel in the Financial District made it easy for us to walk down to Battery Park to board one of those double decker busses, which would carry us through Manhattan for a lot of money. But this was money well spent, because being on a bus keeps me from going into shops…

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Show this picture to your kids and tell them, it was 95°F and humid that day. I bet they will be thankful that you send them back to school…

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So we drove through the Financial District…

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passed Pier 17 and the South Street Seaport, …

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Had a short photo stop to take a picture of the Manhattan Bridge.

Chinatown followed. And we saw the Lower Eastside, where you definitely don’t want to live.

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Crossing Houston Street along 1st Avenue we entered the East Village. And this is a totally different world. Here you can still feel the melting pot atmosphere New York is said to have. All kinds of alternative livestyles are found and accepted here. But the yuppies already found out about it and start to occupy this part of the city.

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He will probably have to retire when his building is taken over by a real estate corporation.

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See what I mean?

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Katz’s Deli is the place where Sally proofed to Harry that he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a real and a fake orgasm.

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This is for the girls, they know, whom I mean…

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Should have taken a note of the address!

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Following 1st Avenue to the North one passes Stuyvesant Town. Planned and built in the 1940s for returning veterans it also housed those families, who lived in the area before. See www.wikipedia.org and search for Stuyvesant Town—Peter Cooper Village.

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Before the bus then headed towards 5th Avenue, it passed the big Medical Centers along the East River and the United Nations.

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The favorite steakhouse of various Presidents.

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It was time for a coffee break. So we got off the bus around the corner of the Rockefeller Center.

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This is not the Rockefeller Center, but some mean looking skyscraper.

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I just can’t stop taking pictures of the NYC taxis…

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The Plaza.

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Beyonce lives in one of these towers.

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Times Square, one of the messiest, most stuffed and crowded places. I was glad that I was on the bus again.

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Our tour guide, heavy NY accent, lovely!!!

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For Dunia, the Target-ista.

We entered the Garment District. At Parsons this ridiculous fashion show is produced, you know the one in which Heidi tells designers, if they are talented or not…

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More than any other building in New York City the Flatiron Building conquered my heart. Considered ugly when it was built it became an icon of Manhattan. If you take a closer look at the facade details you just cant help but loving it.

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Through Greenwich Village and SoHo we went further South.

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And then we were back at the former infamous Five Points and it was almost time for dinner.

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The Bridge Cafe is a former brothel. The owner said, the “ladies” perfumed themselves and their rooms with so much lavender that it still smells like it in the upper floor.

The food was fine, we were tired, and so the night ended early for Manhattan standards…

The last few Weeks in West Hartford

August 24th, 2010 Posted in Unser Amerika

Before we actually took off into our next adventure, there were a lot of parties to celebrate and a lot of lasts to attend. Not all of them were about us, but somehow they felt like good byes for Augustin and me.

Last English Class before fall 2010 – Potluck Dinner with both classes of the TIU:

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The girls from class: standing from left Elena, Jutta, Sevil, Brenda, sitting from left Lin, Rosa and Yulia.

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Half of Sevil, (the other half is even prettier) and Brenda, our language guide through thick and thin…. But that’s not all. She is friend and mother and sister and buddy and highly educated idol, all in one person.

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The Bobs: they say “Evil always comes in three”… Well?

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This is Brenda’s Bob, excuse the possesive-‘s, Bob! He is a flag expert (see further down) and is basically controlled by “Her Majesty the Queen” aka cat. Behind this forehead you will find a 35 volume encyclopedia, but also a lot of humour and thoughtfulness.

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Bob Vocelli. He is a league of his own, and not a little league! He mastered each and every question of his students, however silly (the question, not the student!). Mastering the art of finding examples and metaphores and saving us all from getting into deep sh…, aaaahm trouble, by using those false friends. And although he loved to pick on me, well, maybe because he picked me to pick on, he is a gentleman.

I promise to stop learning any more English immediately, can’t be as much fun as at the TIU!!!

Another Last was our BBQ invitation at Paul and Christine Izzo’s.

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Augustin kangarooing Luke. By the way: the parents were present and all parties involved (in spite of Augustin) agreed to the game.

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I never thought that anybody would buy those ridiculous snuggies, but Christine manages to surprise me every time! And she looked absolutely cosy in it.

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After getting tired of being kangarood by Augustin, Luke started to terrorize Stephanie. She was unexhaustable! Josè had a hard time to get Stephanie’s attention that night…

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I met her too late. Stella, a great source of adjectives, good laughs, sarcasm and intelligence.

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And last not least, our host, wizard of the BBQ, Paul Izzo, colleague AND friend.

Thanks for a fun night!!!

My former German student Joan invited us down to Noank for a wonderful day by the sea.

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Joan’s house is incredibly charming, and her garden is a little paradise.

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But Augustin found his favorite spot in front of the house immediately. Never saw a wisteria like that!

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This is Joan’s watchdog Phoebe, she’s a real cutie.

To give those of you, who still have the chance to see Noank, an idea, here are some impressions:

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Thanks, Joan, for a day in an American city without Dunkin Donuts, Mac Donalds and huge shopping malls. What a relaxing experience!

Raquel, who is a friend of my German students Mindy and Clarence and also organizes the monthly German Lunch at the Hartford Town and County Club, also had us over for a gorgeous dinner. And presents!

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Raquel, who shares some Munich experience with us and is an amazing host.

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Johanna, who came to the US a long time ago, but still speaks accent free German. And Mindy, my Mindy.

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Oh Raquel, you shouldn’t have bought anything. But I did! Ok, I’ll take them…

What a wonderful summer night that was!

Some of us go back… This time it was Sevil, who startled us with a pretty surprising return to Istanbul. But there is always time for at least coffee and some cookies, right?

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Best wishes, Sevil!!!

Somewhere between finding a house in Munich, the soccer world cup and our move I tried to sell some of my old clothes.

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For some reason, my best customer lived right across the street. Didn’t know that Kara has a thing for old, sorry, vintage things 😉

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Instead of earning money, I served coffee. Probably a little hint of fate, careerwise?

I mentioned the soccer world cup, right? Well, there was Rasmus’ birthday AND the final, so his cake had to wait until the game was over…

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When all soccer dreams were over, the party started. And we learned that kids and water are a perfect match. Who needs all this sophisticated electronic stuff, if there is a kiddy pool and some kids?

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Well, a pinata can’t hurt either…

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And then there were presents…

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and a cake…

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Great party untli the wee hours of the morning…

If one lives near Hartford, a visit to the Mark Twain House is almos inevitable. I say almost, because we almost didn’t make it. But at last I convinced Augustin that it would be a crying shame, not to have seen it. So, one sunny Sunday…

The more than eccentric author Mark Twain one day decided to set up living in Hartford and designed a house for him and the family.

It is not allowed to take any pictures inside, but if you want to find out more, go to www.marktwainhouse.org

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Incredible, what you got for 40 grand at that time!

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Mark Twain’s life in Quilt…

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…and he himself in Lego.

Don’t miss the shop when you visit! His autobiography is great stuff to read. This man saw it all and still kept his humour!

Another last: last time for me to be Mindy’s guest at the Hartford Town and County Club.

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I met a number of really interesting, inspiring and intelligent people here. Thanks for having me, Mindy! I always felt special at your side!

Mindy and Clarence also had us over for a great dinner. For some reason I only took pictures of Max, but that will do, because he is obviously the most handsome dog in the whole wide world. And he loves everybody unconditionally. Now tell me, where would you find that again?

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After we actually had become homeless, Brenda and Bob cooked for us. Oh Brenda, once again the corn recipe please! I forgot it…

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I mentioned Bob’s flag enthusiasm, didn’t I?

And certainly, we said good bye to all of our friends with a decent farewell party. Or so I was told… I didn’t get a lot of it, because I was busy telling everybody about our schedule, which route we would take on our cross country trip and where we would live in Munich. But what I do remember was a lot of fancy food, great gifts, moving speeches and a whole lotta love!

(Pictures courtesy of Stefan Morgenstern)

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After almost everybody had gone home, Rick sat by the fire with us. We seriously tried to solve the world’s problems that night and might have been successful, if there hadn’t been some skunks in the yard, who managed to drive us all into our beds.

The next morning, well late morning, I stumbled downstairs to prepare some coffee and found that somebody had cleaned up everything. Kara and Anni, you are my heroes!

Thanks to all who made this farewell party a success. We had the perfect summer night and will never forget it!

So these were our last few weeks in Connecticut. Three years rushed by in the wink of an eye. And now a new era will start for us. Let us take a last look at some things, which will always remind me of the last three years:

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Little Car on a Big Journey

August 22nd, 2010 Posted in Auszug und Einzug

Sending a car to Germany which was bought here in the US is basically no big deal. You have to have it registered for at least six months, and you have to pay for transportation. But it certainly is a totally different story, if it is MY car and if it is ME who has to communicate with all parties involved. Why take the easy way, if there’s a complicated one?

Ozzy Express LLC, owned by Oswaldo, was given the order to bring Gizmo, beloved car and companion, to New Jersey. We were told that Ozzy would show up on Thursday or Friday. This was definitely a schedule in need of being narrowed down a bit, at least to 24 hours instead of 48. So I managed to find out Oswaldo’s telephone number and called him. The conversation follows:

I: “Oswaldo?”

O: “Hello?”

I: “Hi, this is Inken Schuster of 19 Lexington Road in West Hartford. Is this Oswaldo?”

O: “Yep! Ozzy Exprrrrress speaking. Oswaldo on the phone!”

I: “Fine! Oswaldo, you’re supposed to pick up my Mazda Miata this Thursday or Friday, right? Do you think we can agree on Thursday?”

O: “Why I not come today, I have time? You have time?”

I: “Today would be even better, but you should be here before 6.30pm.”

O: “What? Nonono! I come afterrrrr eight.”

I: tempted to say “lucky you“!” I said “No, Oswaldo, today I am only here until 6.30. After that we are invited for dinner.”

O: “No matterrrrr, only need carrrrr, not you. I come afterrrrrr eight.”

I: “Well, I see that a little different. Can you come either today before six thirty, or tomorrow morning?”

O: “Woman, I tell you I’ll be therrrre afterrrrr eight! Don’t you underrrrrstand?”

I: “Oswaldo, there is no reason to shout at me. And I perfectly understand. But you don’t seem to understand that I am not here today after eight. And I want to be present, when somebody picks up my car.”

O: “Woman, hang up, I call you again in an hourrrrr.”

Wondering, which difference this hour would make in our obviously unequal perception of our only shared language, I hung up. We went to a wonderful dinner at Brenda and Bob’s house. And instead of one hour later, Ozzy called two hours later to tell me….

O: “Arrrrrrre you therrrrrre yet? I come shorrrrrtly!”

I: not tempted to be sarcastic anymore, rather to go ballistic “No Oswaldo, I told you, I would NOT be there after eight. Can you come tomorrow morning?”

O: “You told, you not therrrrrre beforrrrrre six thirrrrrty, woman. Do you think, you know what you want?”

I: adorably cool as I must say “Yes, Oswaldo, I think so. Can you come tomorrow?”

O: “Now listen, woman, because you no underrrrrstand me and I no underrrrrrrstand you, I just tell you now: I will be therrrre between 7.30am and 8.30am. Make surrrrre, carrrrr and all paperrrrrrrr is rrrrready, I pick up.”

I: exhausted “Yes sir. See you tomorrow.”

Tomorrrrrrrow 7.30:

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Driving the car up the ramp wasn’t any easier. Picture me in the car, Oswaldo to my left shouting “to the rrrright, to the rrrrrright” and Augustin to my right shouting “weiter links, weiter links! (further to the left, further to the left!). It takes a saint not to shout back!

Next time I will drive my car to Germany. Still working on a plan to cross the ocean. I will let you know!

Moving Days…

August 22nd, 2010 Posted in Auszug und Einzug

When August 16th rose, we definitely knew that now everything would become VERY serious and real. That day at approx. 9.30am the moving company was suppodsed to come packing up all our stuff – and the stuff for others, we will bring back to Germany. No sweat, everything is totally legal!

So when Augustin was leaving the hotel to go to one of those not too exciting last working days, which were filled with farewell lunches, gift giving etc., I was left alone and bound to welcome “the crew”. Here they are:

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These three musketeers are hard working, nice and friendly guys, who even kept sweeping dirt off  their shoes on the door mat after I totally gave up being concerned about dirt at all (which happened pretty fast!).

They arrived in a little truck filled with wrapping material and boxes.

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Their mascot didn’t survive the trip, but Kenny always had a dying issue anyway…

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It didn’t last long until the three packers got their nicknames:

Meet Lukas, aka “Pineapple”: Snapple should pay him some serious tuition!

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This is Peter “Grumpy” aka “Droid”. I actually caught him in one of those rare moments, when the corners of his mouth rose above his upper lip…

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And this smiling guy actually refused to tell me his name. I guess he thought, I was simply too dumb to pronounce it… Probably right. Knowing how annoying it can be to live with a name one constantly has to spell, I simply called him “Unknown”.

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However, the boys went right to work. Everything, literally EVERYTHING, was packed and wrapped and bubblefoiled and taped like mummies. Anybody remembering Christo’s wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin? Well, Mr. Christo, here is some decent competition!

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I begged the boys to give me something to do, but they absolutely refused to do so. I was constantly in their way, so I was reduced to my basic functions: bringing food and paying tips. However, they did more than I would have managed with ten of my friends. And here are some of the results:

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I signed for 304 boxes including the mattress and the garden swing,  we will see, if everything will reach Munich…

On Wednesday the guys came back with our 40feet container. It is orange, which, I reckon,  is always a good sign.

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After parking and fasting the container, and after a girlie breakfast coffee (iced coffee with French vanilla and loads of sugar, boaaaaaahhhhh!!!), the three boys schlepped every single box through the front and the back door. You should have seen and sensed this testosterone-adrenaline-French vanilla driven energy!

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I told you so, Mr. Hirsch, and I told you so, Augustin: the necklace tree and all Billy bookcases AND the couch would have fit into the container! I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!! The new couch will be expeeeeensive!!!

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Sleepy’s never tell you about the weight of their mattresses. I guess, they know why…

Container full, Container unfixed, Container gone… All in an instant. Not even time to shed a little crocodile tear.

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So I was there with this empty house, empty garage and a whole lot of this…

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and this…

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and that…

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I can only recommend not to be nosy enough to pull the drawer at the bottom of your oven out. This is what it looks like AFTER brooming and a first application of mop and clorox… Not our dirt, by the way!

Did you ever notice how much bigger houses seem to be when they are empty? Tough shit that nobody can live in an empty house…

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So this was, almost, our good bye to 19 Lexington Road…

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But only almost. There’s more to come, so keep reading, folks!!!

Am Knie 15

August 3rd, 2010 Posted in Auszug und Einzug

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The house from the left, guarded by a steel gate. To your right is the street “Am Knie”, which means “at the knee”… Behind the gate you cross a little courtyard with the garage and turn right to reach the actual entrance.

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Straight ahead the side door of the garage. Certainly rather for European sized cars…

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Entrance from the garden side.

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The garden view from the entrance.

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The kitchen. Actually not only a room I will cook in (sorry, Mary ;-)), but a KITCHEN!!! A REAL KITCHEN!!!

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Living room and dining room. Don’t ask me, which is which. After seeing 34 houses and 2 apartments in 5 days I am still confusing things…

Let’s go upstairs!

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3 bedrooms, one big, two smaller ones. One will be the walk in closet (thank you, Mr. Big!), the other one will host all our visitors from the US!

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The garden from upstairs:

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One bathroom, I know, two would be better, but we are talking about Munich, my friends (and there is still the half bathroom downstairs, I didn’t take pictures of…)

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I know, a tub would have been nice, but again, we are talking about MUNICH and MUNICH PRICES!!!

Follow me to the fully finished attic:

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Enough room for two studies and a room for all the ugly things, we all don’t need to see every day.

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Let’s go downstairs again and have a cup of coffee…

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… on our new terrace.

The house has a finished basement, gas heating and everything else we need. So keep your fingers crossed that all our stuff will arrive safe and sound.

See you at our new place soon!!!